Instagram founder duo, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger reunited to pioneer a new product. Instead of social networks like Instagram, they later created a site called Rt.live that aims to detect the spread of Covid-19 in the United States (US).
Unlike most sites that usually display the number of Covid-19 cases, Rt .live actually calculates how quickly Covid-19 spreads in each of the US states through the effective infection rate (Rt) rate .
Based on information on the Rt.live website , this figure is actually the average number of people who can be infected by a Covid-19 sufferer in a state.
According to Krieger, this Rt number is one of the claimed effective ways to track the spread of Covid-19. “We make Rt.live because we believe that Rt is one of the best ways to understand how Covid-19 spreads,” Krieger was quoted from 9to5Mac , Monday (4/20/2020).
The Rt value displayed on the site, for now appears to range from -0.5 to 2.5 (range of numbers can change) where the higher the number, the higher and faster the Covid-19 distribution rate in the state. “If Rt is above 1.0, then the corona virus will spread rapidly, conversely if Rt is below 1.0, then the virus will stop spreading,” Krieger added.
To produce Rt values accurately, Rt.live relies on data from the corona virus recording site covidtracking.com. It is known, this site counts positive cases of Covid-19 based on corona tests conducted by a number of people.
From these data, Systrom and Krieger then process them in such a way that later Rt numbers will appear in an area and are displayed on the Rt.live site periodically.
This Rt figure can then be used as a reference or consideration for states in the US that apply lockdown , along with the effectiveness of these restrictions in a region. As an illustration, the New York region which is said to be the focal point of the distribution of corona, now has a value of Rt 0.54, lower than most other US states.
In fact, in mid-March, the Rt figure in New York was recorded as the highest record with a value of 4. After the lockdown was put in place, the figure dropped again.
This indicates that the lockdown policy is quite effective to minimize the spread of Covid-19. Nevertheless, Rt.live actually only shows the level of spread in the US. Systrom and Krieger have not yet announced whether they will expand Rt.live’s scope beyond the US region or not.